Preparedness in the event of acute pollution


The Committee against acute pollution in Svalbard (UA Svalbard) will take action in the event of a pollution incident if the party responsible for causing the pollution is not able to handle the situation itself. UA Svalbard is headed by The Governor of Svalbard. For major incidents, the Norwegian Coastal Administration will lead the operation.

Preparedness against acute pollution is regulated in the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s national contingency plan. The plan consists of agreements, instructions and templates for use in an operation, as well as emergency notification lists and overviews of vessels and equipment. Included in the national contingency plan are:

  • several vessels
  • a depot with oil spill equipment in Longyearbyen
  • a depot with containment booms in Ny-Ålesund
  • depot personnel who will mobilise in the event of a pollution incident

The emergency preparedness plan is built up by a system of agreements between the Norwegian Coastal Administration, The Governor of Svalbard and companies in Svalbard that have been ordered to meet emergency preparedness requirements.

The emergency preparedness organisation in Svalbard can handle smaller, coastal pollution incidents depending on the weather, sea, ice and light conditions. In addition, several Norwegian Coast Guard vessels with oil spill equipment operate in the waters around Svalbard. In the event of major incidents, the Norwegian Coastal Administration will bring in resources from the mainland.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration is the responsible authority in the event of acute pollution or if there is a risk of acute pollution, but in individual cases the authority is generally delegated to The Governor of Svalbard. However, The Governor will bear the operational responsibility with a duty to act if an incident occurs.

Businesses in Svalbard and vessels operating in the area have their own responsibility for emergency preparedness against acute pollution.